Democracy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short by Bernard Crick

By Bernard Crick

No political notion is extra used, and misused, than that of democracy. approximately each regime this present day claims to be democratic, yet no longer all "democracies" let loose politics, and unfastened politics existed lengthy sooner than democratic franchises.

This e-book is a quick account of the background of the doctrine and perform of democracy, from historical Greece and Rome throughout the American, French, and Russian revolutions, and of the usages and practices linked to it within the sleek global. It argues that democracy is an important yet now not a adequate for sturdy executive, and that rules of the guideline of legislation, and of human rights, should still in a few events restrict democratic claims.

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Hardcover: 496 pages (492 - this pdf)
Publisher: college of Missouri; 1 version (December 6, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0826215459
ISBN-13: 978-0826215451
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1. 6 x nine inches

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Additional info for Democracy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Example text

While citizens ordinarily were protected by known laws and a reasonably impartial judicial system, imperium could override all. Imperium or absolute authority did not cease when the Tarquin kings were killed or turned out, but was exercised for the whole 27 community by the Senate and the consuls - albeit with the possibility of veto by the tribunes. Foreign policy was a senatorial matter and not subject, with some famous exceptions, to popular control. Thus the Roman constitution was, in very broad terms, closer to the 18th-century British idea of the sovereignty of parliament rather than either the French idea of sovereignty of the people or the American idea of constitutional restraints upon government.

But what if a traditional state with a peasant economy in our later modern world 35 seeks to industrialize? It will need not merely to train its masses but to ensure their support, in one democratic way or another, especially as they are now dangerously gathered together in cities. He is at that strange cusp of time when progress has to look to a far past to emancipate itself from feudalism and clericalism. Machiavelli half believes, with Plato, that history is cyclical: monarchy degenerates into tyranny, tyranny provokes democratic revolt, but democracy then proves so anarchic that a monarch or prince has to be found or restored, but then his rule degenerates and provokes democratic revolt...

The night that John F. ' Roman government thus involved both a complex set of institutions and a most elaborate and rationalized set of values, the latter consciously taught, analysed, lauded, and perpetuated in schools, in literature, and in history, both then and in later ages. That Rome, even of the republic, could become an empire without losing, for that reason (for several hundred years at least), her internal freedoms was due to a way of looking at these very values that was revolutionary in the ancient world.

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